When Two Become One | Home Blending When You Have Dogs

Calli Richards Photography

We were ecstatic when Julie Morris from juliemorris.org reached out to us and wanted to write another blog for us to feature on our website. We all love our animals and for most of us, our pets are our family. Follow Julie’s advice to make home blending go as smoothly as possible when you have dogs.

When Two Become One | Home Blending When You Have Dogs

Moving in with your new or soon-to-be husband is an exciting event and a huge milestone in your relationship. But when you have four-legged roommates, the transition can be difficult. Before you decide to take a leap of faith and blend your furry family, make sure everyone is on the same page so you don’t have to choose one best friend over another. Here are a few tips to get the conversation started and headed in the right direction:

Talk to your partner about your pets. Communication is the key to any successful blending of families. Rover.com offers this advice, “Before making the move, sit down together and establish what values are important to you and what rules you think your pets should follow.” You may be okay with your dog curled up on your feet through the night, but your partner may have a strong feeling against dogs in the bedroom.

Get to know each other’s pet parenting style. Your pet parenting style can be a source of comfort or conflict if you don’t agree or can’t compromise on how to treat your animals before putting them under the same roof. There are a number of different pet parenting styles including helicopter, authoritarian, and permissive. If you fall into the latter category but your betrothed considers his pet property instead of family, you’ll likely find your dogs a source of domestic disarray.

Let your dog’s mix and mingle before the big day. If you have not introduced you dogs already, do so well ahead of combining households. Even if both are generally sociable with other canines, they will still need time to familiarize themselves with each other before sharing a bed. Certified Dog Trainer Chad Culp explains that initial introductions should last no more than three seconds. The Thriving Canine founder offers lots of great advice on letting dogs meet on his website.

Have patience. Even if you’ve been dating for a while, it may take some time for your canines to get used to each other as well as you, your partner, and your new living situation. There will be good days and bad. As frustrating as dog behavior can be, try not to freak out if they snap at feeding time or mark their territory in the most inappropriate places. If you’re at your wit’s end, these 14 tips by It’s Me or the Dog’s Victoria Stilwell can help you squash stress during those first delicate days.

Consider the kids. Getting married creates a whole new family. Getting married with dogs and kids takes it to another level that you might not be ready for. If either of you have human children, you will need to be extremely diligent before living your own version of the Brady Bunch. Your child’s existing dog may be very protective and will need to establish trust between your partner’s animal well before moving in together. And just because your little one treats his own dog one way does not mean he can display the same behaviors with a new dog. Dog bites are not uncommon and it is up to you to teach your children what actions may trigger a defensive response.

Just like it took time for you and your husband to get to know one another, your dogs will need time to bond or, at the very least, learn to tolerate each other’s existence. You can make the process much easier on all concerned parties by keeping an open line of communication and understanding each other’s expectations. While your respective canine companions might not be the next Pongo and Perdita, a little preemptive measures can help establish a harmonious hound-loving household.

Julie Morris

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